Champion - Laura Friedman

Assistant Director of Communications • Advocate

From: New York, New York


Experiencing Hearing Loss

When she was two years old, Laura's parents took her to half a dozen doctors. They noticed that she was not speaking or responding to sounds and relied on lip-reading to understand what was being said to her. It wasn't until 18 months later that she was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.

"Like 90 percent of other children who are deaf or have a hearing difficulty, I was born to parents with typical hearing," says Laura. "I thank my grandfather for giving my mother this advice. He said, 'If you don't try teaching her language now, you'll never know if she's capable or not.' From that day on, my parents were determined to have me learn to listen and talk. If I failed, I would have failed trying. It was then that my parents had me fitted for hearing aids."

Laura's mother fiercely advocated for her when she was younger, and was a great role model for Laura to look up to. When Laura was diagnosed, her mother did all she could to make sure she had the resources she needed and the right team of people behind her.

"My mom believed in me and my abilities, ignoring the so-called experts and naysayers who said I would never partake in the oral-communication world, learn language, or hear," says Laura.


Life for Laura

Laura has shattered stigmas and proven many people wrong throughout her life. She loves to travel and has been to 24 countries so far. She is currently the Assistant Director of Communications at Workforce Opportunity Services, and is heavily involved in her community.

Much of her community service has been focused on helping others with hearing loss. She is:

  • A member of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Disability Youth Council and Hearing Loss Taskforce.
  • A peer mentor for children with hearing loss at the Center for Hearing and Communication in NYC
  • The founder of HearsHelp.com, which provides social advice for children and young adults with hearing loss

"Treating my hearing loss enables me to partake in any project and initiative I choose to take on," says Laura. "While having hearing loss makes certain tasks more difficult like large conference calls, it also has its advantages. My hearing loss has made me into a very perceptive, detail-oriented and creative individual. Thanks to the challenges I endured as a child with hearing loss, I'm confident that I can overcome anything that comes my way."


Why Laura is a HearStrong Champion

Through her life and career, Laura has been an outspoken advocate for those with hearing loss. She believes that if people choose to participate in the speaking and listening world, it's important that they seek treatment. She also believes this choice could positively impact their career and well-being.

"My personal mission is to eradicate the stigmas associated with hearing loss, so that we can live in a world where people with hearing loss no longer face barriers and discrimination when it comes to education, employment and medical care," says Laura.

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